california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Garden Blog


Early Winter Growth and a Few Flowers

Dec 12, 2010. - Ceanothus 'Dark Star' - California Lilac 'Dark Star'
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My own activity in my garden blog has been little to none over the last 6 months. Life in the garden has been quite the opposite. We were lucky to enjoy a cooler than normal summer although it was just as dry as one would expect in arid Southern California. A few of our native plants have suffered in the Santa Ana winds of the autumn but all things considered it’s been a very good year for our plants.

Our Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’ (pictured) is showing some tiny blooms for the first time. This month our Western Columbine, started from seed 18 months ago, has shot up a lovely long flower stalk which promises to burst into color very soon. Of course I’ll fire up some pictures of that when it happens.

Not all our our plants made it through the summer. The Fremontodendron survived so I’m happy about that. They are particularly susceptible to root killing pathogens if soil retains too much moisture during hot summers. To survive the first summer gives it a really good chance to become established through the upcoming wet season.

Not so lucky specimens include Wayne Roderick Seaside Daisy (Erigeron Glaucus ‘Wayne Roderick’), Bush Anemone (Carpenteria Californica), Bush Poppy (Dendromecon Rigida) and the Bonita Linda Coffeeberry (Rhamnus Californica).

Our patio area is a real suntrap, I’ve mentioned this before. When the temperature in Camarillo is in the 80′s, our patio is often a good 20° F higher. Given these harsh conditions it is no surprise plants from cooler microclimates struggle. Over the summer I started to experiment with native Buckwheats. We have Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum Grande Var. Rubescens), Bliss’ Buckwheat (Eriogonum Blissianum), St. Catherine’s Lace (Eriogonum Giganteum) and Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum Arborescens). You can see pictures of these in the plant journals section. Buckwheats are known to take heat very well, they have foliage similar to some succulents. They bloom profusely in the summer when many other California native plants are dormant. They are also great wildlife plants providing food for butterflies and caterpillars.

I’ll be back as soon as something else interesting happens :)

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Recent Images

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